Published on January 31, 2013 9:37 AM

BlackBerry Z10: Hands-On, First Impressions

Is BlackBerry finally getting it right?

Yesterday evening, BlackBerry presented the BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone running on the all-new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It's set to sell for £480 SIM-free. We managed to get a closer look at the handset after the presentation.

The BlackBerry Z10 has a 4.2" IPS touchscreen with 1280 x 768 pixels, which makes for a pixel density of 356 pixels per inch. It runs on a 1.5 GHz dual-core SoC, 2 GB of RAM and has 16 GB of memory that can be boosted via the microSD card slot.

BlackBerry Z10 hands-on

Connectivity is covered by Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and 4G LTE. There's an 8-Megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash for photos and video, as well as a 2-Megapixel front-facing webcam for video chat. 

From the front (see above), the Z10 could be flagged up for a vague resemblance to the rear face of the iPhone 5. But that's about as far as any similarity goes. 

BlackBerry Z10 first impressions

The rubbery back casing of the Z10 is nice to touch and helps you keep firm hold of the phone. The BlackBerry Z10 is generally nice to hold and handle, feeling neither too light nor too heavy. The rear casing can be totally removed, giving access to the battery and slots for a micro SIM and a microSD card. 

BlackBerry Z10 first look

As often with BlackBerry (whatever you do, don't call them RIM) mobiles—and especially since this is a high-end handset—the Z10 has been finished to a high standard. The various physical buttons are all easily accessible too. The ON/OFF button, for example, falls right under the index finger of whichever hand you're holding the phone with. 

BlackBerry Z10 BlackBerry 10 interface

The bezel around the 4.2" screen is touch-sensitivie, and comes into play with the specific navigation gestures developed for BlackBerry 10. Pretty much everything has been designed to let you control the phone with just one finger. We also noticed that some of the gestures have been inherited from the OS seen in the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

You soon feel at ease with the new OS, which breaks with the norm and—above all—has absolutely nothing in common with the tired, old classic BlackBerry operating system. It may take a little getting used to, especially when it comes to finding your way around the Hub (e-mails, social network updates, etc.), which sometimes feels like it could be simpler.

All in all, though, our first impressions of the Z10 and BB10 are positive. The phone and OS are smooth and seamless to use, screen viewing angles are very wide and the predictive text function will no doubt cause a buzz.

BlackBerry Z10

There are two connection ports on the left-hand edge of the handset, neither of which have covers. There's a micro USB port for data transfer and charging, plus a micro HDMI port. You can even mirror the Z10 and its BB10 interface onto a TV if you connect it via HDMI. 

The BlackBerry Z10 is out today in the UK at EE, O2, Vodafone, Three, Phones 4U, and Carphone Warehouse.
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